Monday, March 26, 2012

Puppies and Investigators

Link to Elder Crandall’s blog:

I really do love getting these emails from Elder Blackford. Although they’re just random little snapshots of what has been going on during his week, I think they’re always entertaining and uplifting.

Since he sometimes has a hard time thinking of what to tell us, we still send him questions every week. If anyone has a question that would be interesting for everyone to know that we haven’t thought of, please post it or send it to us and we’ll put it in the next email!

Q: Do you walk more or take the bus more?

A: Depends, we’re in the smallest area basically possible. We’re just Jardim Lucelia. It’s tiny; 10 minutes to walk from one corner to the other. But for going to Grajau to meet the elders there, or to go to the mission home for meetings, yeah we take the bus. On average we take the bus 2 times a week or so.

Q: What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

A: The food here is really not all that much "different," it is just like they eat the same types of food every day. So to be honest, I have not eaten anything I haven’t liked (or that I didn’t mind eating) and it’s all been pretty normal I guess. Just beans and rice with everything.

Q: Have you seen any strange and/or large bugs?

A: Always—there are so many weird bugs and they like to land on you and creep you out. It is the worst!

Q: Do you and your companion cook much? If you do cook, what is it likely to be?

A: So, here is how it goes. I love eggs. We literally went through 60 eggs in the last 2 weeks. The guy in the car passes all the time yelling “OVOS 30 OVOS, 5 RAIS!” which is like 30 eggs for 3 bucks, and it requires like no effort to get them. So in the morning, after working out, Elder Crandall will get in the shower, I will write in my journal, do dishes for a little, and after like 10 min, I start cooking the eggs. When he gets out and changes they are all ready, we eat, and then he washes the plates while I shower. So that’s how it goes almost every morning (except were starting to get tired of eggs but today we bought tomatoes, onions and green peppers to make omelets!). That’s about all we cook normal days, except maybe popcorn. On p-day, we generally make hamburgers (American style!) or noodles with cheese, but that’s really about it.

Elder Blackford also told us that they had a puppy that just wandered into their apartment! Knowing Elder Blackford, I’m sure he was thrilled (he loves puppies and kittens). He described it as “a super happy crazy puppy.” He says the neighbor took it to the favela, announced free puppy, and someone claimed him.

As far as investigators go, it sounds like Elder Blackford has had a little more luck these last couple weeks. One of his investigators, Michael, he describes as the “most knowledgeable person we have for an investigator…he has actually read part of the Bible.” However, when they began talking to Michael he already had a baptism scheduled with another church and did go through with that, but is still interested in taking more discussions and reading the Book of Mormon. My favorite story, however, is about their “chain reaction group.”

One day I was gone on a division, while Elder Crandall and the other elder that stayed here made a contact with a Nelson. We tried like 6 times to pass by, but every time he was gone, or someone else would be there and say he wasn’t there. Well like 2 weeks ago, we had stopped by 3 times, and nothing. Then at like 8:15, we were standing in the rain and all of our 8pm plans fell we were like what now? And the impression came to my mind, let’s go to Nelson again. I told Elder Crandall, and he was like “Yeah, I thought that too.” So we went, and guess what! He wasn’t there. But, the person there was like “Wait who is Nelson?” Then he found out that Nelson is his friend’s real name, who has lived there a few years with him (doh!). But anyways he says we can come in. We go to teach him (we want to do the normal first lesson) but both of us for some reason felt that we shouldn’t really teach we didn’t. We just taught the law of chastity (because 85% of brazil isn’t actually married, they just live together—with like tons of investigators step 1 is get them married legally). So we did that, set a return appointment and left, and really we were like humm, he’s not very interested but whatever, don’t know why we didn’t teach first lesson. Our next appointment, we get there, Nelson is there, along with 5 other people. We teach the first lesson to all of them. Now were several lessons down the road, Nelson is on a trip 1000s of miles away, the original person we taught doesn’t come to our lessons, another guy that lives there was really interested, now he’s so-so interested, but his "wife" is very interested, where before she wasn’t. Then earlier last week, her friend happened to walk in at the end, said she lives 3 doors down and wants to hear the lessons. Well we showed up to her house yesterday (we were 15 min late because of another appointment) and she was at the door waiting for us. We went in and she said she already had heard a little bit before. We find out her mom took the lessons a year ago (she still has a hymn book and all!), went to church a lot but never was sure, and so the missionaries stopped coming cause she wasn’t really progressing. So we taught them both. Her mom still has doubts, but she soaked it all up, she already read the first like 20 pages before we got there of the Book of Mormon her mom has, and she said as soon as she feels it’s true, she wants to be baptized.

All this because we decided to go back to the house of Nelson, who really never wanted to or had any interest in our message, one more time.

It’s amazing the things the Lord prepares. All we have to do is listen to our feelings. I have really found that out, that so many times a thought just pops in, and like several times a day now it happens, and no longer do I question random thoughts in my head. Which I still don’t know is the best of ideas, but it’s worked out so far right?

They aren’t always so lucky though. I can just imagine the look on Elder Blackford’s face as he tries to explain to this guy how he was only proving them right.

Yesterday we taught someone who was about as closed-hearted as an oyster. He explained he doesn’t like our church because we follow the commandment of tithing and that we do 10%. He said that it’s not 10%; it’s how much we decide whenever we decide it. We showed him that the Bible says its 10%, and he said “Yes it does, but we don’t need to do it,” followed by the most amount of nonsense anyone has ever said. It was like talking to an angry five-year old. We used our standard example of "in order to teach the gospel you need to have authority and it is like a driver’s license, you can still drive without one, but when the day comes you get pulled over (aka die) you’re going to be in big trouble.” While giving the example this man bragged that he doesn’t have a driver’s license—he drives without it because he believes that by being alive he has permission to drive. What was funny was how we explained to him he just proved himself as a false pastor in our example and he dug himself such a hole. His wife was sitting there embarrassed at the whole situation of her husband proving himself wrong at every corner. He just wanted to bash us down, but we are there to teach his wife, who actually is interested, and their daughter is a member, who got baptized a year ago, but we don’t know why, because she wants nothing to do with church, and knows nothing about it. But it is funny how this guy just proved himself wrong. In the end I feel bad for him because he is so blinded he doesn’t know what is right or wrong. It really is sad that some people can’t even believe the basic messages of Christ in the Bible, let alone our message of the restored gospel.

Elder Blackford also says that although he doesn’t have a mailbox, he get letters about every two weeks, so he would love to get more letters!

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